97th Constitutional Amendment Act

News: The Supreme Court on July 20 in a 2:1 majority verdict upheld the validity of the 97th constitutional amendment but struck down a part inserted by it which relates to the Constitution and working of cooperative societies.

Details:

  • It dealt with issues related to effective management of co-operative societies in the country. It was passed by Parliament in December 2011 and had come into effect from February 15, 2012. It amended Article 19(1)(c) to give protection to the cooperatives and inserted Article 43 B and Part IX B, relating to them.
  • Upholding the Gujarat High Court’s 2013 decision striking down certain provisions of the 97th constitutional amendment, the Supreme Court held that the Parliament cannot enact laws with regard to cooperative societies as it is a State subject.
  • Several intervenors have contended that the amendment made a direct in-road into the exclusive domain of states to enact laws with regard to cooperatives.
  • However, the Centre has contended that the provision does not denude states of their power to enact laws with regard to cooperatives.
  • The Centre has stated that the amendment was enacted to bring uniformity in the management of cooperative societies and it did not take away the powers of states.
  • But, the Supreme Court has now said that if the Centre wanted to achieve uniformity then the only way available was to take the recourse under Article 252 of the Constitution which deals with the power of Parliament to legislate for two or more states by consent.
  • The subject of cooperative societies fell in the state list and “belongs wholly and exclusively to the State legislatures to legislate upon” and any change would require the ratification by at least one-half of the state legislatures as per Article 368(2) of the Constitution.
  • Now, Part IXB of the Constitution of India is operative only in so far as it concerns multi-State co-operative societies both within the various States and in the Union territories of India.